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Building Trust and Rapport

Project Management Training Part 2

Trust and rapport between project members can be vital in order for the team to work effectively.

Rapport is a positive feeling about a relationship and is like a bridge between two islands.

  • Stronger bridges can carry heavier trucks and lorries.

  • When you have a stronger relationship with someone, you can ask more of them.

Rapport is achieved through two main ways: sharing experiences and building trust.

Shared Experiences

One important component of rapport is having something in common between you and others, such as:

Being committed to the same goalsHaving similar skills/talents
Sharing the same interestsUnderstanding the same language or terminology
Having a similar personality or sense of humourHaving shared values or taking a similar outlook on life

Therefore, one way to establish rapport with project team members is to find interests that you have in common.

You can build rapport personally by listening to project team members and taking an interest in what they have to say.

You can encourage project team members to build rapport, through finding common interests, using the following exercise:

  • Split people into small groups of about 5 or 6

  • Ask them to decide on a humorous name for their small group, based on something they all have in common. Eg: if they have all been to Spain and all had "speeding tickets", they might call themselves "Los Speedos"

  • For larger projects, you can optionally give everyone name badges and ask them to decorate their badges with a logo that illustrates their team name

The above exercise can be used as an ice-breaker on a project team building event. Groups will need between 20 and 40 minutes to complete it.

Another way of building rapport between team members is to have an "awayday" that includes some activities in which they all take part. The awayday then becomes one of their 'shared experiences'.

Trust and Respect

Another way to establish rapport is to develop trust and respect between team members, and between them and you.

Project Management Training: Soft Skills Tools

Project Management Training



Trust and Rapport


Winning Commitment


Using Power



Small Teams

Group Conflicts

Team Development

Managing Difference


Team Islands

In/Out Groups

Building the wider team

Large Projects

Project Culture

Putting it all together

"If you want it done well, do it yourself" is a saying borne of the absence of trust, and it is a philosophy that gives you more more work to do, diverts you from other more important tasks, and slows the project down.

  • Do people trust you, the Project Manager?

  • Do you trust the people working on the project?

The answer is unlikely to be as simple as it might appear, because trust is complex.

What is trust?

The following exercise will help illustrate the complexity of trust.

Choose three people to think about:

  1. a family member
  2. a work colleague who you "trust"
  3. someone (outside the company) who you do "not trust"

Enter their initials in the boxes at the top of the table (below). (This information is for this exercise only and not retained; it will be discarded as soon as you move on to the next page)

Then consider for each person whether you trust them with each of the things listed in the left hand column, below. Check (tick) each box where to indicate where you trust them (leave the box blank if you would not trust them, or are not sure).

Do you trust this person enough to... Family

Lend them a large sum of money (eg: over £100) without question

Share a close personal secret (eg: when planning to resign to join another company)

Lend them my car while I am away on business or holiday

Rely on them to meet a deadline that is very important to me without chasing or checking

Admit to them when I have made a major mistake

Trust Score (no of ticks in each column


Looking at your answers above, why do you trust some people more than others, and how can you build more trust in your working relationships?

The next article in this online course is:

Project Management Training:
Soft Skills Part 3: Networking

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©2013 Team Technology. Further articles/resources that may be of interest include: Personality Test, Personality Type Descriptions, Myers Briggs overview, The Basics of Team Building, What Career is Right for Me?, and Career ideas.